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Astronomers may have found giant alien 'megastructures' orbiting star near the Milky
(10-21-2015, 06:31 AM)stevebowers Wrote: Here's Anders Sandberg's take on the subject.

I read through this today and I also don't find the logic convincing, I'm afraid. Mostly because it seems to be based on a series of assumptions that 'ain't necessarily so'. In no particular order:

Assumption: Population must grow to fill any environment to the maximum possible.

This is an old notion that is itself probably at least part of the basis for the idea of a dyson sphere in the first place. However, this idea ignores or dismisses a much simpler technology - birth control. Anders talks in terms of dismantling a solar system in decades to centuries. But the same tech that allows you to do this (nanotech presumably, ala the tech described for Matrioshka Brain construction) also is generally considered to have major impacts in medicine, including extreme life extension, or even immortality. And perfect birth control would seem a logical follow on or additional development to that.

Taking this to a more general case, it is generally agreed upon that any long lived culture is going to have to control it's population eventually or suffer collapse. So why would it not institute such a thing before a dyson is built instead of after? Especially when related tech (longevity) would seem to make the need even more urgent, and the solution (perfect and easy birth control) even more easy.

Putting this all together an advanced civ might have the means to create a dyson, but deliberately limit its population where such is not required even though the population is vastly larger than what we have now.

Assumption: Humans in the early 21st century have invented all possible solar blocking megastructures.

This seems rather unlikely. Advanced civilizations may have wants and needs that we haven't even imagined yet. Just working within what we've imagined in OA, advanced civs might want large industrial installations to create amat, exotic matter, black holes, magnetic monopoles, wormholes, or something else we haven't thought of yet. These installations might be quite large (but flimsy, working in zero G) but not support a large population.

Assumption: There is no middle ground between no dyson sphere and a full on effort to create a dyson sphere.

The assumption here seems to be that an advanced civ would start work on a dyson as soon as they are able and not stop until it's done. But why should this be the case? If there's no particular need for all that solar power then why build the sphere? In OA we have some groups building megastructures for fun (basically), but barring that, it's not clear why a civ would jump from being wherever it is when it invents the necessary tech to needing full solar output all at once. There is also the 'environmental impact' issue and the probability that, much like our own culture, the advanced civ will have many different groups with many different views. Some may be against taking planets apart (or all the planets, or some planets). Some may want to 'terraform' or use the planetary mass for other things. Some of the planets, asteroids, etc, in the system may have been developed before dyson tech becomes available and not want to vacate for the sake of having their homes used for raw material. Etc.

My 2c worth,


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RE: Astronomers may have found giant alien 'megastructures' orbiting star near the Milky - by Drashner1 - 10-22-2015, 12:17 PM

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